Know Your Flag and National Anthem Etiquette
by Marshall McGurk
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation when he remained seated for the National Anthem during a preseason game on August 26, 2016. The discussion points are many: patriotism, race and racism in America, free speech, and even leadership. On Labor Day and every day, remember these eight points on Flag and national anthem etiquette.
- Stand up and face the flag when it is presented and when the national anthem starts. If you can’t see the flag, face the direction of the music.
- Your right hand goes over your heart when the music begins.
- Remove your hat with your right hand and place it over your heart.
- Display the flag proudly on these holidays.
- Display the flag sunrise to sunset only, weather permitted, unless it is fully lit at night.
- You can turn in your worn and tattered flags into the VFW or American Legion for proper disposal.
- In certain venues like sporting events, feel free to sing along. Know the words.
- Don’t answer your phone and or start a conversation when the anthem begins. Your conversations can wait.
Here’s a bonus tip.
*Remain standing and be polite when another nation’s anthem is played, e.g. hockey games against Canadian teams or diplomatic events. A little courtesy goes a long way.
We should feel proud of our flag and national anthem. Our country has rich history, albeit a scarred one. No nation is without its faults. While we continue to become better as a nation, do your civic duty and show proper respect to the United States flag and anthem.
This article first appeared in The Havok Journal 3 September 2018.
Marshall McGurk served nearly five years with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) after a stint with the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized). He enjoys scotch, cigars, good books, foreign films, and critical thinking. He is passionate about international relations, domestic affairs, and successful veteran transition.
He serves in the Army Reserve. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.